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The Relais-Châteaux and Atrio restaurant

Luis Mansilla y Emilio Tuñón

FAD Award 2011  Architecture
Description Technical file

A profound and brilliant exercise in architectural sensitivity, as well as the application of a set of environmental strategies, allows its creators to overcome the complicated challenge of making contemporary design compatible with historical and architectural heritage within a framework of dignity, tradition and modernity.

Twenty years after the establishment of the Special Plan to Protect and Revitalise the Historic Centre of Cáceres, the proposal for the hotel Relais-Châteaux and Atrio restaurant in Cáceres has attempted to give an answer to the requirements of the city of Cáceres itself, expressed by way of its corresponding Special Plan, as well as the opinion of its institutions and citizens, through the construction of a new hotel project which attempts to safeguard the environmental qualities of this protected area.

A detailed look at the Special Plan made it clear to the authors of the project that complexity is the defining characteristic of this historic district and that, consequently, any contemporary intervention in this area would create difficult dilemmas, given that they would create situations and links which are impossible to compare, thus requiring strategies to promote a calm coexistence between heritage and contemporary design.

Within the historic centre of the city, the existing plot which the building has been erected on was occupied by two very different edifices. The first is a three-storey building located along Calle de los Condes. The second building, made up of two floors and a mezzanine was a house erected in the early ‘80s in the San Mateo square.

The new building houses two complementary activities: the new headquarters of the Atrio restaurant, and a fourteen-room hotel. On the ground floor is the hotel’s reception, the restaurant and its kitchen. On the next two levels we can find the set of bedrooms. The rooms are arranged around a small atrium which gives scale to the totality that connects the floor with the more traditional constructions we can find in the historic town. On the first floor we find a discreet indoor leisure zone, open to the back garden, with two small irrigation ditches located at the back. There is a small terrace open to the San Mateo square on which one can enjoy the distant views of the historic centre of Cáceres and its fields. Between these two different areas is a pergola, added in an attempt to make the surroundings of Plaza San Mateo more pleasant with the green presence of climbing plants.

It is clear that the proposal aims to preserve the environmental characteristics of the area without altering the textures of the existing buildings. As previously mentioned, the walls have been refurbished while preserving the materials and the texture of the masonry, including the walled-up gaps, and the roofs have been rebuilt using recycled curved tiles. The jambs, lintels and gutters have been built using locally-sourced granite, and the windows are all made of oil-stained wood.

As well as refurbishing the façades and recycling the material of the walls, the construction also boasts an optimised use of energy, not only from the point of view of use of materials during its construction, but also during the building’s remaining future life. In addition to this, the use of local materials and techniques, the optimisation of the electrical installations, the use of clean energy and sorted recycling all contribute to giving this building a degree of sustainability which today’s society demands.

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Emplazamiento: Plaza de san Mateo. Cáceres. Autor: Luis M. Mansilla y Emilio Tuñón, arquitectos. Colaboradores: Carlos Martínez de Albornoz, Andrés Regueiro, Marceline Ruckstuhl, Carlos Brage, Arabella Masson, Elke Gmyrek, Ignacio Peydro, Teresa Cruz, Anna Partenheimer, Ainoa Prats, Joao Leitao, Bárbara Silva y Carlos Cerezo, y Fernando Benito Fernández Cabello, arquitecto técnico, Alfonso Gómez Gaite, estructuras. Instalaciones: JG ingenieros. Promotor: Restaurante Atrio. San Mateo Hotel. Fotografía: Luis Asin.
Suppliers list
Constructora: UTE Joca – Placonsa
Iluminación: Erco, Santa&Cole y Poulsen
Carpintería: La Navarra
Cocina: Casademont
Muebles: PP Mobler, Carl Hansen, Frizt Hansen, Fredericia y La Navarra
Baño: Vola, Dorn Bracht, Flaminia, Duravit, Mamparas Hüppe y tiradores D-Line

Emilio Tuñón
Luis M. Mansilla
Luís Asín